Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Definition of Infinity

If you groom an 11-pound, short-haired cat with a wire brush, the brush fills up with hair, which then has to be removed and thrown away. (I call the clump that comes off the brush a hair-biscuit; the process of removing it is oddly satisfying, kind of like getting the dryer lint off the screen in one piece.)

If the cat enjoys being brushed, as mine does, you'd think that eventually, the hair-biscuits would become smaller or less frequent as you continue to groom; or even that the brush would eventually stop accumulating fur entirely. All of those thoughts are wrong. What happens is that the brush collects hair at the same rate for as long as you are willing to brush said cat. Therefore, the amount of cat hair on this one cat, is INFINITE. This discovery goes a long way in explaining the condition of our house and furniture.

Incidentally, it turns out that the solution to cat dandruff has nothing to do with grooming, but rather involves adding fish oil to her diet*. Thank goodness, because if there's one thing a pregnant lady has on hand, it's fish oil... it's too bad she seems to heartily dislike it, so far. They say that it can take up to 15 presentations of an unfamiliar or disliked food, before a child will finally accept it. Nobody seems to know anything about how many presentations it takes for a cat. Will it take two solid weeks of dribbling (expensive, people-quality) fish oil on her kibble before she starts enjoying it? Or will the fact that she has nothing else to eat except fish-tainted Purina One speed up the process? Does anybody sell cheap, pet-quality fish oil, and does wondering about that make me a bad person? Stay tuned for the exciting conclusions, next!

*Thank you Google. My debt to you is also bordering on infinite-- so much information, some of it valid, and all for free... Where else would the phrase "cat dandruff" return 360,000 hits?


ayla said...

Don't let her go too long without eating. My cat went on a hunger strike while i was pregnant and she ended up dying. You might want to try little bits of wet food with the fish oil, if you don't usually give it to her. I would take a can of 9lives or something and give my cat a quarter of it with whatever med I wanted her to take. She never got wet food so she would eat it.

Mara said...

Don't worry, Cathy is not familiar with the concept of a "hunger strike". She's more of a "glare at you while eating" or "push the dog away and eat the dog's food instead" type of rebel.

Also, she's got enough fat stored on her, to go several weeks without food if she DID stop eating... there's flab somewhere under that FUR!

Mara said...

Oh, and I'm really sorry to hear about your cat, that's so sad! :-(

ayla said...

The "enough fat to survive" thing is what I thought with my cat, and why I didn't freak out too much when she started snubbing her food. However, if cats go too long without eating, they start metabolizing their fat, and it shuts down their livers. No kidding. Peanut didn't eat for three weeks and I thought I was just missing it or something, but by the time I realized she was really, really sick, it was too late.

So, that's my tip to you. It was a sad, sad thing, and I still miss her (she was only 6!), and I would hate to see anyone else go through what I went through. I will never ever put another cat on a diet.

stephgivler said...

Taking kibble out of her diet and feeding a grain/veggie/fruit-free wet food can help with dandruff, too. It also may help with the excess shedding. Cats are obligate carnivores (designed only to eat meat) and can display their nutritional deficiencies in their coats. Both of my cats had dandruff and shedding problems until we switched them over to wet food.

Also, definitely don't let her go too long without eating, like Ayla said. Cats, particularly those who are overweight/obese are at risk for hepatic lipidosis if they don't eat for 24-48 hours. Hepatic lipidosis can be life threatening.